This film is part of Free

St Patrick's Day Pilgrimage Downpatrick (1959)

A flock of pilgrims follow in the steps of St Patrick from his first church in Saul to his final resting place in Down Cathedral

Ceremony 1959 3 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Northern Ireland Screen


Before making the pilgrimage from Saul these worshippers have travelled from across Ireland, Africa, Asia, Sweden, America and Cyprus to join the St Patrick’s Day congregation. This footage by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board joins the pilgrims as they reach Downpatrick. A sizeable flock lead by local ministers pass the old gaol and Regency houses on their way through town. The film ends at Down Cathedral where the crowd politely bustle their way inside for a good seat.

The annual St Patrick’s Day pilgrimage was revived the year before this footage. Local ministers of all denominations lead pilgrims on the 2-mile walk from the church at Saul to Down Cathedral. Known as ‘the cradle of Christianity in Ireland’ Saul is believed to be the site of St Patrick’s first church. Down Cathedral is regarded as the burial place of St Patrick, ‘in Down, three saints one grave do fill, Patrick, Brigid and Columcille’. These rushes are amongst a wealth of footage that was generated by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.